Vikings different from past champs |

Vikings different from past champs

When South Tahoe won its first boys’ state soccer title in 2003, the Vikings had a several superstars, led by Leon Abravanel and Alex Torres.

When South Tahoe won its second state title in 2005, the Vikings relied on the potent scoring tandem of Ernesto Mosqueda and Milton Montoya, who combined for 43 goals that year.

If South Tahoe wins its third title in five years this weekend, the 2007 Vikings will be remembered for their team-by-committee style of play.

“Coach Ed McClain and I truly believe this team has just as much as talent as the two state championship teams,” said STHS head coach Chris DeLeon, who is 67-11-9 (.770) in his four years with the Vikings. “This team has talent, but mentally we aren’t there sometimes. But this team can win a state championship, we believe that.”

The Vikings (16-5-4) will get an opportunity to prove it on Friday when they face Sunset region champion Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas at 4 p.m. in the Nevada 4A state tournament semifinals at Damonte Ranch in Reno. South Tahoe defeated the Gaels 2-1 in the 2005 state semifinals en route to its championship win over Elko at Mackay Stadium in Reno.

Northern region champion Douglas plays Sunrise region champion Silverado in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. The Tigers beat the Vikings 1-0 last Saturday in the Northern 4A regional championship game at Damonte Ranch, a match in which South Tahoe outshot Douglas 22-3.

South Tahoe, which lost to Silverado in last year’s state semifinals, is hoping for a different outcome this week at Damonte. History will certainly be on the Vikings’ side.

STHS has won the past two state tournaments that have been held in Northern Nevada. Defender Mac Cerceo hopes the Vikings find a way to win a third on familiar turf.

“I guess that should help us that we’ve been able to win the last two championships up here,” Cerceo said. “But we are looking at this as another chance to prove we are a good team. We have become more of a team this year because, well, due to the lack of goals we’ve scored (compared to past teams). One person hasn’t been able to do it on their own, and that’s a good thing. If we are going to win this weekend, everybody will have to give their best effort and everybody will have to play together.”

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